Just a couple of days after in-state rival Seton Hall pulled off a major recruiting coup by landing Brooklyn Lincoln guard Isaiah Whitehead, Rutgers hosted a slew of young basketball talent for Saturday’s football game in which the Scarlet Knights beat Arkansas, 28-24
New Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan may not be able to match Kevin Willard’s recent burst of recruiting success this year, but Jordan is hoping another talented Isaiah will stay home and play ball at the state university.
Isaiah Briscoe was the biggest name who visited Saturday and Jordan made his pitch.
“I had a little time to sit down with Coach Eddie,” Briscoe, the 2015 guard out of Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, told SNY.tv. “He is a cool guy, very down to Earth and understandable.
“He said that somebody has to be the one [the man] and [asked] will I be the first person to break the mold and stay home.”
Asked if he’s considering Rutgers, Briscoe said, “Yeah, I will. Why not?”
Rutgers has some stiff competition for Briscoe.
Arizona is in there strong and assistant coach Book Richardson was at Roselle Catholic this past week, when head coach Sean Miller was also in the Garden State for the Brayden Carr Clinic.
Schools like Syracuse, Memphis and Florida — as well as Seton Hall — are also recruiting the 6-foot-3 Briscoe.
To make matters more complicated for Rutgers, Whitehead and Briscoe are tight and the two talked last week about potentially joining forces in college, assuming Whitehead isn’t one-and-done, which is a real possibility.
Briscoe wasn’t the only young prospect at Rutgers this weekend.
They had a Who’s Who of young talent, including Rawle Alkins, Temple Gibbs, Leroy Butts, Jon Davis, Develle Phillips and Markis McDuffie.
Rutgers would love to add some combination of these young players, but Briscoe could be a Pied Piper for others around him.
Rutgers has been down this road before with other talented in-state players.
Former coach Freddie Hill recruited Mike Rosario out of St. Anthony but he lasted only two seasons before transferring to Florida.
Another St. Anthony product, Eli Carter, similarly bolted for Florida in the wake of the Mike Rice situation, although former St. Anthony and Paterson Catholic star Myles Mack did opt to stick it out.
Now here comes Briscoe, the latest Garden State star who a new Rutgers coach is courting.
Can Eddie Jordan land Isaiah Briscoe?
It could be a game-changer if he did as Rutgers heads into the Big Ten.
“We will see what happens,” Briscoe said.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.